Crab meat recipe will tofu (蟹扒豆腐) is a traditional Cantonese dish served in many Chinese restaurants. The texture is similar to shark fin soup, as both thicken with cornstarch to form a thick soup/ gravy (羹) with crab meat, egg white, wine, and vinegar, among others.
Crab meat recipe with tofu is a very forgiving dish. You can substitute most of the ingredients with other items.
1. Choice of tofu
I am using Japanese egg tofu. It is semi-firm, smooth with the taste of the egg.
You can pick any tofu, but I suggest you pick semi-firm or firm tofu for this recipe since soft tofu can break into small pieces when you flip and stir them in the thick crab meat sauce.
Egg tofu comes in a cylinder shape. Cut it into 1.5 cm/half-inch thick discs. If you are using other tofu, cut it into bite-sized squares.
You have the option to deep-frying the tofu before braising with the crab meat. If you want to deep-fry the tofu, lightly coated it with some cornstarch and deep-fried it until golden yellow. The surface of the tofu will form a slightly chewy skin layer, hence has a different mouthfeel.
The tofu will be silky smooth if you skip the deep frying. It is also healthier and less oily. Both ways are delicious, so the choice is yours.
Note: If you like tofu, please check out other tofu recipes I posted earlier.
1. Chinese tofu recipe with mushroom and meat sauce
2. Braised Tofu With Vegetables
3. How to cook the authentic Mapo Tofu
You will be surprised how versatile and easy to prepare tofu with different methods!
2. Prepare other items for the crab meat tofu recipe
Fresh crab meat is the best choice. However, many home cooks prefer using frozen or can crab meat for this recipe. You may be surprised that many Chinese restaurants are also resorting to frozen crab meat. If they offer this crab meat recipe with tofu in their daily menu, this is the option because the consistency of supply is crucial for them.
I am using frozen crab meat because it takes too much work to remove the meat from the crab, as compare to the quick-cooking process of the dish.
The frozen or can crab meat may not be free from the crab shell. Take some time to examine and discard any shell that is still attached to the meat.
Egg white is the must-have ingredient. It forms strands of short white strips while keep stirring in the stock, which looks like crab meat. A chef joked that since crab meat is expensive, they can reduce the amount and yet customers still think there is a lot cause they mistook the egg white is crab meat.
However, the real usage of egg white is to add flavor, thicken the gravy, and to provide a slippery texture to the dish.
Use a good stock to cook
The third primary ingredient is the stock. It is the foundation of the dish. Although crab meat is rich in umami, it still needs to build on a high-quality stock base. Large Chinese restaurants prepare their stock with a combination of chicken bones, ham, and spices. While this is not practical to do it at home, cook this crab meat recipe with any stock you have, never with only water. You may consider purchasing the store-bought chicken stock for only one dish.
Other ingredients for the tofu (you are free to pick)
You may also add a variety of ingredients to the basic recipe. I use the following items, but you can have a different list of items.
Dried Chinese mushroom. The mushroom has a distinctive aroma and a contrasting texture to the tofu. You need to soak it overnight, remove the stem and cut it into small dice.
Carrot. A small amount of carrot cut into julienne or thin slices enhance the color of the dish.
Leek. Cut It into thin slices diagonally. You may use the white section of the scallion or celery as the substitute.
3. The seasoning for crab meat with tofu
The primary seasoning for the crab meat recipe with tofu is the combination of vinegar, rice wine, sesame oil, and white pepper with a pot of high-quality superior stock. This is also the same set seasoning for shark fin soup. You may add a small amount of light soy sauce, but it is not necessary if you are using a good quality stock.
Note: Shark fin soup used to be a favorite dish in the Chinese banquet. Since there is a growing number of people who do not consume shark fin, most restaurants are willing to prepare shark fin soup without the shark fin, i. e. make the same way but omit the fins.
4. The detail cooking method
- First, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a few slices of ginger and a tablespoon of rice wine. Then add the crab meat to the water and have a quick blanch for 15 to 30 seconds. Pour the water through a wire mesh strainer to capture the meat. The ginger and rice wine in the water helps to remove the ‘frozen’ smell of the crab meat.
- Next, heat some oil in a pan over low to medium heat. Add a few slices of ginger and coarsely chopped garlic. Once it turns aromatic, add the carrot and leek. Stir fry for a minute until the carrot becomes soft.
- Now pour the stock into the pan. Add the diced mushrooms and the blanched crab meat.
- When the stock comes to a boil, add the tofu to the pan. Braise the tofu for a minute and give it a shake from time to time.
- Next, prepare some cornstarch slurry by combining two teaspoons of cornstarch with two tablespoons of water used to soak the mushrooms. This water had plenty of mushroom flavor, so it is ideal to use it instead of plain water.
- Add the egg white and stir gently.
- Add the cornstarch slurry to thicken the stock. You need to stir it gently as the tofu can break easily. We are looking for the viscosity of the gravy that enables the gravity cling on to the tofu. That means you will get all the ingredients every scoop you put into your mouth.
- Lastly, season with rice wine, white pepper, and sesame oil. Serve.
To blanch the crab meat:
- 2 tbsp of cooking oil
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 slices of ginger
- 1/2 stalk leek, about 30g (1 oz), cut diagonally
- 30g (1 oz) carrot, cut julienne
- 200ml (3/4 cup) chicken stock
- 2 medium-size dried Chinese mushroom, diced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1 tbsp green peas
- 1 egg white
- cornstarch slurry (2 tsp cornstarch + 2tbsp mushroom water)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp black vinegar
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- Cut the tofu into 1.5 cm slices.
- Blanch the crab meat in boiling water for 30 seconds with ginger and rice wine added. Drain.
- Saute the garlic and ginger until aromatic.
- Add the carrot leek and then cook with the stock for a minute.
- Then add the mushroom, then season with salt and pepper.
- Add the tofu. Braise for one minute.
- Add the green peas,
- Add the egg white, stir to break it into short strands.
- Thicken with the cornstarch slurry.
- Finally, season the tofu with rice wine, white pepper, and sesame oil.
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Serving Size:2 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 638 Total Fat: 25g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 19g Cholesterol: 56mg Sodium: 1416mg Carbohydrates: 75g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 4g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 22g